Drama Momma

by admin on November 9, 2011

My mother has a long, long history of being loud, tacky, always enormously late, and needing to be the center of attention at any and all events, but her behavior at my wedding still trumps all, I think. It started small in the morning, when she couldn’t understand why I was attempting to hurry her along and stick to the schedule because “we’re the wedding party; everyone just has to wait until we’re ready to start. I’ll be ready by 3:00.” The invitation said 2:00, the time had been set for months, and she knew it. I had to tell her three times I would not leave guests twiddling their thumbs for an hour because she didn’t want to get dressed, and as the bride, I was starting on time with or without her.

And then she got dressed and I saw, for the first time, the “perfect mother of the bride dress” she had assured me of. It was a floor length, strapless, satin beaded gown in ivory. It was MY DRESS. Even the detailing was similar. It looked like she’d bought it in the prom section somewhere, but since she’d seen my dress several times over the previous year, there was no way she hadn’t chosen it on purpose. (Not that it would have been appropriate anyway…who wears a white ball gown to someone else’s wedding; let alone their own daughter’s?!) At this point, I admit it…I burst out laughing. She looked frankly ridiculous, this 55-year-old in a sequined prom dress, and what else could I do?

We got down to the ceremony, we were about to start, and Mom suddenly started trying to rearrange the order that everyone walked down the aisle from the way it was rehearsed the previous day. It was planned that the parents were going to walk down first (groom’s mother escorted by groom’s father, my stepmother escorted by my father, my mother escorted by my stepfather), then attendants, then me (escorted by Dad, who will have subtly returned for me while the attendants come down the aisle). But Mom suddenly decided that she needed to come after all the attendants and be escorted by my father, because, quote: “The mother of the bride is the most important person!” Everyone stared at her until she mumbled, “…except for the bride.” (I guess as long as he doesn’t walk down the aisle, the groom doesn’t matter on his wedding day!) I had no idea why she suddenly wanted to be escorted by my father, considering they’d been divorced for twenty years. Plus, this arrangement would look ridiculous since Dad would have had to walk her down the aisle, turn around, run back up, and walk with me. So I started to point this out, when I suddenly realized what she was trying to do. Early in the planning, she begged that she and my father walk me down the aisle together – which I think is a very nice idea if you happen to be close to both parents. I had refused, however, because I am very close to my father and do not get along with my mother at all (for reasons that I imagine are becoming clear!). Now, I realize, she’s trying to trick me into it at the last minute – hoping I’ll say something like, “Oh, it doesn’t make sense for Dad to walk us separately; let’s walk the three of us together!” Or at the very least, draw some extra attention to herself by getting to go last. I gritted my teeth and informed everyone we were walking the way we rehearsed it yesterday, period.

The rest of the wedding went off without a hitch, at least until the reception, when some poor hapless young man working for the caterer let a different table up to the buffet before hers and she stood up on her chair – in her giant white prom dress – and screamed across the entire hall, “UH-UH! THE BRIDE’S FAMILY GETS TO EAT FIRST!” You could have heard a pin drop. I wish I could claim she was drunk, but she doesn’t drink. She is just that charming.

A year later, my husband can still barely contain his hysterics when he sees pictures of her in that dress and my sister does an amazing impression of Mom screaming across the reception hall. At least we get laughs out of it!

(P.S. Unrelated to this story, but too good not to share, I feel. My father swears up and down that just after they were married, when his grandmother died, my mother was late to the funeral because she was coming from work. Instead of, say, slipping into the back of the funeral parlor like a normal person, she waited until the opportune moment, then popped out from behind the casket wearing a bright red minidress, waved her arms like a ringmaster, and yelled, “Ta-DAH! I’m here!” I’m told no one fainted dead away, but it was a near thing.)   1024-11

{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

Cady November 9, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Whenever I read stories like this, I wonder if it’s awful to be able to see so clearly why one’s parents divorced, or if it somehow makes things easier.

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HonorH November 9, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Good for you for laughing about it. Your mother is ridiculous, no two ways about it, and you were right not to let her ruin your mood.

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Sarah C. November 9, 2011 at 1:02 pm

That is priceless. I’m so relieved that you have a sense of humor.

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S-Tooth November 9, 2011 at 1:07 pm

This story makes me greatful that I have the Mom I have.

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Just Laura November 9, 2011 at 1:15 pm

My mother and I also have a … difficult relationship, but I have nothing to top this cake.
Loved it, OP! Wish I had been there. 🙂

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Maribeth November 9, 2011 at 1:17 pm

With relatives like that, you need to realize that they only make themselves look bad. They don’t make the whole family look bad, unless the family joins in the drama.

“Why is your mother wearing a wedding gown so similar to yours?”
“I don’t know. Why don’t you go and ask her?”

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Jennifer November 9, 2011 at 1:29 pm

You poor girl! I have to say at least you have a great attitude!

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Wink-n-Smile November 9, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Narcisism rears its comically ugly head.

Good grief.

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Anonymous November 9, 2011 at 2:41 pm

I need to go give my mom a hug for not being this ridiculous.

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Another Laura November 9, 2011 at 3:00 pm

I think OP’s mom seems to be either completely clueless about what is appropriate in social situations, or is completely apathetic to the feelings of others. Who wears a bright red or a mini dress to a funeral? Who pops up from behind the casket during the service?
What MoB wants to deliberately show up an hour late to the wedding in a nearly- identical- to- the- bride’s dress?

How did this woman ever get TWO men to marry her?

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malliejan May 26, 2012 at 9:28 pm

How did this woman ever get ONE man to marry her?

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Thel November 9, 2011 at 3:18 pm

I join the other posters in praising the OP for her sense of humor and not letting the antics of her mother spoil her wedding day. Good for you for standing your ground! Congratulations on the strength of your spine and the perfect development of your funny bone!

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Lilac November 9, 2011 at 3:35 pm

I can never understand why the mom of the bride would dress in a faux wedding dress. How can she not anticipate that people would be laughing at her behind her back or even worse, pitying her as being incredibly selfish, tacky and–dare I say it–stupid? It is just plain dumb not to get that this is soooooooo not normal behavior.

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Roo November 9, 2011 at 3:39 pm

OP here! Trust me, it has never been anything but a blessing that my parents divorced when I was young – it allowed me to be raised by a wonderful father and stepmother and realize that Mom’s behavior does not have to be a reflection on me. Because if I let her embarrass me every time stuff like this happened, I would have dropped dead of shame years ago. 😉

(Like the time she leaped off the bleachers, shoved aside a bunch of preteens and their coach, and insisted that only she could demonstrate the proper way to do the splits during my sister’s junior high cheerleading tryouts. Or the many times she showed up to band concerts and school plays wearing little more than a bikini top. Or the time at my surprise birthday party at a restaurant two years ago, when she accidentally knocked over a wall partition onto a waitress – instead of simply apologizing profusely and helping her up, she pointed at me and yelled, “She did it!” Seriously, I could write a book.)

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Chocobo November 10, 2011 at 9:08 am

Maybe you SHOULD write a book — with humor, of course! Heck, I’d read it.

The ability to laugh at life is a precious gift, it’s the only way I get through the day — never let that go!

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Jay November 10, 2011 at 9:57 am

I’d buy it!

Heck, “$#!+ My Dad Says” got a TV show.

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M2 November 10, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Oh, I would SO buy that book!

Kudos to you for your fabulous sense of humor…you are obviously one cool chick!

“If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane. ”
~Jimmy Buffett

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The Elf November 10, 2011 at 3:04 pm

It is National Novel Writing Month, and fictionalized memoirs do count….

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ladycrim November 16, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Truth may be stranger than fiction in this case …

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June November 9, 2011 at 5:45 pm

I’m so glad this wasn’t a “My mom ruined my wedding day” story. You made it awesome despite her best efforts! High five!

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Meloni November 9, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Your attitude is something to aspire to.

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JediKaiti November 9, 2011 at 6:29 pm

@Roo – perhaps you & OP should collaborate on such a book. We could have a NYT best seller here!

Ya know, I used to think my parents were nuts, then I started getting to know some of my friend’s parents. Now I thank mine for being sane and normal.

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Gracie C. November 10, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Roo is the OP. If she co-authors a book with herself we might think she’s as loopy as her mom! 🙂

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ladycrim November 16, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Charlie Kaufman co-authored the movie “Adaptation” with himself (claiming it was his twin brother), and he got an Oscar nomination out of it. 🙂

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Cat November 9, 2011 at 6:29 pm

Reminds me of my mother. She loved to ask me what I wanted for Christmas and what I did not want- and then buy me what I didn’t want. The first time she did it, I was nine years old. I asked her why she would buy me the one thing I said I didn’t want and she replied, “Oh, I just thought you were lying.” That would make a lot of sense (especially for a very truthful nine year old child) to tell someone you don’t want something you really want-if you are nuts.
I finally realized that she had major mental problems, and simply did not tell her anything.

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MeganAmy November 9, 2011 at 10:39 pm

My mother is SO similar!! A narcissist!!

Good for you, OP, for having a good sense of humor! I would have been yelling at my mother and telling her she must change into another dress somehow.

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anonymous November 10, 2011 at 12:08 am

Wow…just…wow. WOW.

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MellowedOne November 10, 2011 at 6:44 am

OP, I love the way you handled ‘crisis’ moments in your wedding…a sense of humor, good perspective of the overall situation, and, when the moment called for it, ‘laying down the law’ (walking down the aisle). Like I always say, ‘if you can’t control the situation, you can control your perspective’.

I think we all have a ‘nut in the family tree’, or at some point rub shoulders with someone who is a few clowns short of a full circus. By letting these types not get to us when can enjoy life more and have awesome stories to tell others 🙂

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The Elf November 10, 2011 at 8:24 am

I can’t imagine *why* you aren’t close to your mother! Good for you for sticking up for yourself. When I read the opening lines of your story, I thought it was going to be another tale of a bride getting trampled by an overbearing relative. I’m sympathetic to those stories – we got a little trampled too (though nothing quite like the stories I’ve read here). It’s hard to overcome a childhood of accepting something, and then you throw in the stress of a wedding and the liklihood that the couple are young and aren’t so practiced yet at standing up for themselves. It sounds like you were prepared for her BS and wasn’t going to back down. That’s so refreshing!

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WildIrishRose November 10, 2011 at 11:48 am

At first I thought your mother was just–I don’t know, weird, self-centered, clueless, whatever. But when you mentioned her behavior at the funeral, it made me wonder if she isn’t mentally ill. That kind of outrageous behavior really may indicate something more than just a pathetic desire to be noticed.

But otherwise, she does sound a lot like my own mother, who wore to my wedding the single most hideous blue flowered muumuu I have ever laid eyes on. It didn’t help that she was at least 100 pounds overweight, nor did it help that she got her knickers in a twist because I didn’t ask her husband–my THIRD stepfather–to give me away. I actually had to explain that he was NOT my father but was instead HER husband, and there is a difference, believe it or not. My grandfather–to whose home she had basically shipped my sister and me when she could no longer “handle” us–did the honors. She just didn’t get it. Still doesn’t.

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Diana November 10, 2011 at 1:01 pm

Literally laughed out loud when reading the part about the funeral. Thanks for making my day!

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Paige November 10, 2011 at 4:29 pm

This is hilarious! I love how lighthearted you are about it too. It makes it soo much more fun to read.

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Ellie November 10, 2011 at 10:48 pm

Throughout the year of planning for my wedding this past summer, I similarly dealt with the constant “I’m the MOTHER OF THE BRIDE!!”. Luckily, her antics were nowhere close to yours, just attempting to control every detail down to the first dance song, because ‘everyone’s opinion of the day will reflect upon the mother of the bride’…so I admire you for laughing through it and not pulling your hair out like I did!

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Enna November 13, 2011 at 10:11 am

Well done OP for laughing – although Evil Enna would say Mummy of the Bride that if she doesn’t want to come, she doesn’t have to but if she isn’t ready for a 2pm start she can be even more late and walk in and then she might have missed the wedding completely. As for the dress didn’t you ask her what she was wearing? Maybe she thought as she was your biologocial mother she should walk with her ex your biological father. Although it does seem strange she wears a white dress and wants to walk with your dad – maybe she was trying to make a point about her being married to him first?

As for the funneral – that was bad. Wow. She’s clearly what Judge Judy describes as “a nut.” She’s not dangerous just a bit mad!

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Miss Raven November 14, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Another Kudos for your sense of humor, OP. I hope your Dad is at the point where he can laugh about his grandmother’s funeral, because then I won’t feel so bad for laughing out loud. How completely horrendous!

That said, I don’t want to put a damper on the mood (silly as it is), but have you ever read about Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)? I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what on EARTH was wrong with my boyfriend’s mother until I took an abnormal psychology course in college and it all came together. Personality disorders, by nature, do not have cures, but it might help you to understand your mother better.

(Boyfriend’s mother stories are so plentiful I could write a book, as well. She was a chronic liar with histrionic tendencies who seemed literally incapable of understanding that other people actually had different needs and wants that she did not share. This led her to TONS of inappropriate behavior that sounds a lot like your mother. She passed away suddenly two years ago, but I always knew in the back of my mind that when my boyfriend and I got married, I would have to appoint an usher to “BF’s Mom Patrol” to watch and make sure she didn’t start changing things or getting out of control. Her showing up in a white dress was the least of my worries.)

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Roo November 16, 2011 at 1:45 pm

OP here! My therapist actually has assured me, from my stories and from meeting her a couple of times, that my mother has a classic case of NPD. I’m always really glad when other people recognize it too, because even though a lot of people have heard of narcissism, most of them don’t know about the actual personality disorder and how destructive it can be. Sadly, one of the foremost symptoms of narcissism is a refusal to see one’s own behavior as abnormal (everyone else is always the problem) and so they really can’t be helped, but yes, it has helped me enormously in situations like this!

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Redblues December 27, 2011 at 9:21 pm

The only thing I’d have done differently was to have left on time for my wedding, and let Narcissitic mommy show up late-in a wedding dress no less- and look like an even bigger fool. OP, you are one in a million! Bless you!

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Liz February 3, 2012 at 10:28 am

As the daughter of parents whose divorce is (almost) as clearly understandable as the letter writer’s, I think it’s better. I remember being 6 years old and quite clearly telling sympathetic adults, “Oh no, Mommy and Daddy are terrible together. Everyone’s much happier now.”

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LilyG February 10, 2012 at 5:48 pm

My mother was great for the most part, but my cousin suffered at her wedding. Her mother also had a very similar white dress, swathed in acres of tulle and sequins. Aunt came down the aisle last, nodding and smiling to all in the pews as if it was her personal wedding. To top it off, she had an enormous picture hat with giant white silk roses and peonies, white feathers and a fingertip sheer train! If she wasn’t at a wedding, it would have looked spectacular. The outfit was very pretty, but at your daughter’s wedding???

The crazy thing is I don’t think Aunt meant anything by it-she is a lovely person and very generous. She truly might not have realized what she was doing.

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Michele March 29, 2012 at 8:54 pm

I am so late reading this but it was so funny!! I am so glad you are such a nice and easy going person!!! God smiles on you and I would buy the book too! 😉

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Katje May 23, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Oh. My. God! I’m appalled that the MOB not only wear white to the wedding but completely made an @$$ out of herself and acted like a total attention hound! I ‘m glad the bride didn’t let that put a damper on her wedding and got a good laugh out of it.

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Angel August 6, 2013 at 11:21 am

I am reading this late (slow morning) but just have to say this story made my day! So funny. Good for you for having a sense of humor. The funeral story is almost too outrageous to be true, but I have found truth to be much stranger than fiction 😉

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